As the Spring semester draws to an end, Gold Wems goes to bed every night worrying about the fact that her community college is switching its learning management system (LMS) starting in the summer of 2021. Ever since Wems got the news she’s had mixed feeling because she’s going to miss using Blackboard, the LMS she’s been using for her whole time at CCBC.
The news about the move to Brightspace, the new LMS, was made public about a year ago. Professors and students at The Community College of Baltimore County have since been gearing up to adopt the new system as soon as it takes effect in the summer of 2021.
According to The D2L’s (the company that owns Brightspace) website, “D2L’s online learning platform, Brightspace, allows you to transform the experience to meet educators’ and learners’ needs—no matter where or who they are.” It also states that it is a learning management system used by K-12 students, college students for higher education, and also for corporate learning purposes.
Schools that already use Brightspace testify that it is a worry-free technology system saying it puts learners first, it enhances teaching success, and it improves learning outcomes. Users also get to partner with a learning expert for all courses.
The website portrays the learning management system as the next level of education and a system that makes learning easy. Also, from the testimonies of other college students, faculty, and professors, there seems to be some truth to how Brightspace makes the life of a learner easier.
“I think with anything new, there is always a bit of uneasiness,” Media Studies Program Coordinator, Beth Baunoch said. “My only concern is the extra time it will take to set up and teach classes with a system I have never used before. We have used Blackboard for so long, that it became second nature. That being said, I think it is time for something new. Blackboard is not user-friendly, and we never received any updates to make it feel more like other technology in our lives”
Baunoch said she has gone through the Brightspace training, but needs a couple of months before she gets fully used to the new system and before it becomes second nature. She however, expressed how excited she is about the change and how user-friendly the new system is.
For students who are curious as to what to expect with Brightspace, know that it is a cloud-based LMS that is supported by most operating systems, from Windows 7 to Windows vista, Windows XP, Linux, Windows 8, Mac OS, and Web browser (OS agnostic). And unlike Blackboard, it is more user-friendly with 24 hour support via email and phone.
Furthermore, a CCBC student, Brianna Baxter, shared her concerns and comments about the LMS transition. She said, “While watching the Brightspace navigation video for students, I learned about the new LMS. I do like how when using this LMS there is the home icon and CCBC icon right in the top left corner of the page. It allows you easier access to get to whatever home page you need to be on. There is a ‘waffle iron’ that drops down and shows you all the classes you are enrolled in that semester. I find that pretty cool because it is a quick and easy way to see all your classes.”
Baxter found the navigation video very helpful because she had no prior knowledge about Brightspace and getting to see all of its features got her excited for when she would finally have a chance to use the system for her classes.
Also, Baxter is optimistic about using the new LMS. She finds its features and layout to be “cool” and even though she uses Blackboard and has done so for about 3 years, she’s open to trying a new system as long as it is easily accessible to professors and students like herself.
The important dates to keep in mind for the learning management system transition are as follows: On July 2020 Brightspace was officially licensed and in early January 2021 there was a pilot launch of the website. Starting in June 2021 Blackboard will expire and there will be a full rollout of Brightspace.
Before the full rollout in June, students are welcome to use the online resources on CCBC’s website to get an overview of the Brightspace environment and familiarize themselves with the system by using the navigation video as Baxter did. This should help prepare everyone for the transition when it takes effect.
For more information about the transition to Brightspace click the link below: